Back at the beginning of June, my hubs and I decided to do a cleansing diet. After a long winter, a cold spring, and a long season of busyness, we had just gotten off track with our eating. We wanted to try to reset our bodies, and jump start healthier eating for the summer months.
I thought June would be a great time because all of the fresh fruits and veggies that are just coming into abundance. So we planned to do a Whole Foods Cleansing Diet, based on the diets in The Real Food Cleansing Guide by Lisa Byrne from Well Grounded Life.
The Real Food Cleansing Guide is great because it’s simple and straight forward and filled with information on everything from why it’s important to do a cleanse, options for different types of cleanses to do, what to expect from the cleanse, and even sample menus and recipes to go along with it.
So we decided to do our diet for 3 days, with 2 days of transition afterward. Our whole foods cleanse consisted of eating mostly fruits and veggies, with a few whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and was meatless, dairy free, wheat/gluten free, and sugar free.
The cleanse went pretty well (at least for me, hubs bowed out on the second day). I won’t get into telling you how to go about doing a cleanse, the book does the best job of that, or even what I did for my cleanse, but I do want to share some take away lessons I learned about incorporating more healthy foods into our everyday diet.
Keep Lot of Fruits and Veggies On Hand
This one is kind of obvious, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with, and is especially hard during the winter months when selection is very limited (at least if you’re trying to eat somewhat local and in season!)
But, if you want to eat lots of fruits and veggies, you have to have lots of fruits and veggies to eat, right?! So head to your farmer’s market and buy often. But do be careful about buying too much, you don’t want to buy so much that you can’t eat it all and it goes bad.
When things are in season locally, it’s a great time to think about putting up food to use throughout the year. I think it’s better to use local berries, fruits and veggies that you have frozen or canned yourself, than to buy the fresh version at the grocery store in the middle of winter. I participated in the Green Mom’s Carnival this week, which has tons of great posts and ideas for preserving all kinds of foods.
Obviously meal planning is important, and it’s especially important when you’re trying to use lots of different types of fruits and veggies, or other healthy additions, in your diet.
Planning for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and even dessert, or evening treat, can make all the difference between packing in lots of nutrition, and settling for something quick, easy, and less nutritious. In fact, often the healthier options are just as quick and easy, they just take a little more forethought and planning, especially before they’ve become a regular part of your eating routine.
So once you’ve got lots of fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods on hand, and you’re ready to plan your meals, here are some ideas for improving some basic things you’re probably already making and eating.
Photo by accent on eclectic
Smoothies – We love green smoothies at our house, and I found a few ways to tweak our regular recipe.
- Adding just a spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate really helps to add sweetness and covers up the taste of the greens even more.
- Use coconut milk instead of milk, yogurt or kefir for a dairy free option. We couldn’t even tell a difference, and coconut milk contains very healthy medium chain fatty acids, like lauric acid, which has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
- We’ve been experimenting with different recipes using different combinations of fruit and other ingredients for even more variety. Here’s some great recipes we’ve tried lately: watermelon slushies, cherry almond and strawberry banana smoothies, and coconut lime refreshing smoothie.
- When you eat healthy dinners, you can use the leftovers for healthy lunches. For example, one day my kids had a lunch of leftover grass-fed burgers dipped in ketchup, watermelon and cantelope cubes, and carrots with hummus.
- Try to incorporate a fruit and veggie into every lunch!
- Think about ways that you can boost the vegetables in some of your favorite meals. One of our favorites is ground beef curry, which calls for potatoes and possibly one other veggies like peas, beans or zucchini. On one of the transition days after the cleanse, I made it with about half the meat, and added lots of extra vegetables – broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini.
- Serve veggies first, before serving dinner. Whether just a simple salad, or raw veggies with dip, everyone comes to the dinner table hungry and this way they eat their veggies first (especially good for reluctant veggie eating children!)
- I have lots of other favorite recipes, like Fried Rice, Chili, and even basic spaghetti and sauce, that would benefit from simple added veggies like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, zucchini or peppers, which would greatly improve the nutritional value and really not affect the flavor much, or may even enhance the flavor.
Overall, the experience of having to eat almost all fruits and veggies for 3 days made me realize how much more I could incorporate them, and other healthy foods, into our day to day diet. And now that in season fruits and veggies are in full swing (we’re just about to start bursting with zucchini and tomatoes from our garden!) we are taking full advantage and eating and preserving as much as we can!
Also, I just read this great post at Simple Organic on 13 ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables. Some great ideas!
How do you make sure your family eats lots of fruits and veggies every day?
Top photo by ElvertBarnes
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